Those of you who know Wes know he is a pretty quiet fellow. He smiles often and is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known; however, a big out-loud laugh from him will always make you laugh, too—because when he laughs, he really enjoys it!
The other night, we were about to drift off to sleep and were discussing the events of the day. That particular day, we had learned of the death of country music legend Merle Haggard. I told Wes that when I was in college, I had the opportunity to attend a Haggard concert, and he had been one of my favorite singers when I was in high school. Silver Wings, Okie from Muskogee, and other songs were regulars that my dad played on his guitar around the house.
But there was one song in particular that I really loved. Mama Tried.
I honestly don’t know why I liked this song so much. Maybe it was the rhythm…maybe the way Merle sang it…I truly don’t know. But I do know that MY mama didn’t like it! The song copy I owned was an old single 45 record, and I would set it with the arm “open” on the record player, so it would play on repeat—over and over and over. Mom and dad had an intercom in their room where they could hear us during the night—so maybe THAT was why mom didn’t like that song. Then I told him that although I didn’t understand it back then, I thought I had a better understanding now. When your teenager is singing, “I turned 21 in prison, doing life without parole” and how “Mama tried to raise me better,” I guess it could have been a little unnerving for a mother!
And at that, he laughed. Hard! And then he told me I should share that story in my column. So in honor of Mother’s Day, here it is. Thank you Mom for letting me listen to Merle over and over. And so the world knows, Mama didn’t just try to raise me better.
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